Juvenile Justice


Juvenile Justice Ministry ("JJM") is a relational ministry that seeks to partner with our community’s courts in diverting kids affected by the system in many different capacities.  In 2013, over 23,000 complaints were filed against juveniles in Jefferson County, contributing to the need for additional resources to aid our court system and our community.  Through JJM, we strive to respond to the individualized needs of incarcerated, probated, and diverted youth by assessing their individual needs and encouraging placement in one of our multiple ministry models, or pairing them with a caring, equipped and professionally trained adult who facilitates meaningful conversation and capacity for success.  Our goal is to help young people develop a way of living taught by Jesus Christ: balancing the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of life. We build valued relationships that are sustained through ongoing involvement as they re-enter their communities.


Using a rehabilitative approach that addresses the root cause of the behavior not only improves public safety, but also saves taxpayer dollars:

  • A typical career criminal causes $1.3- $1.5 million in external costs 

  • A heavy drug user, $370,000 to $970,000; 

  • A high-school dropout, $243,000 to $388,000. 

  • On average it costs $40,000 a year to keep a youth in a detention center


However, "The one defining characteristic of at-risk youth who rise above their circumstances and succeed is that they have one non-parent adult in their life who invests in them and believes in their future." - Peter Vanacore, Executive Director CAYM

In fact, at-risk youth who have a mentor are:

  • 52% less likely than their peers to skip a day of school
  • 55% more likely to enroll in college;
  • 46% less likely than their peers to start using illegal drugs
  • 27% less likely to start drinking;
  • 81% more likely to participate regularly in sports & extracurricular activitieS
  • More likely to remain connected to a church.

JJM gives believers around the country effective tools to pursue the thousands of young people experiencing the challenges of incarceration, abandonment, addictions, and abuse in institutions and programs all over the United States.


  • Our strategy is to help develop balanced young people modeling a healthy lifestyle: physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. We build valued relationships that are sustained through ongoing involvement and activity, teaching our kids to be a well-rounded productive member of society.
  • The most important component of mentoring is the one-to-one relationship. Kids need someone to confide in, a person who will listen to their fears and encourage their strengths. This can be done as a stand-alone mentoring ministry or as part of a group program.
  • The end result is the establishment of a trusting relationship that transforms lives; an opportunity to discover themselves OR The end result is establishing an environment that cultivates self-discovery/self-growth/self-realization and motivation to spark life change.


  • BALANCED PROGRAMMING:  Using outreach, Bible study, small group interaction, and personal mentoring to meet the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs in a young person’s life.
  • FREQUENT CONNECTIONS:  Entering into a youth’s world to build healthy relationships and model Christ-like behavior on a frequent and ongoing basis.
  • ONE-TO-ONE CONTACTS:  Meeting individually with a young person to provide personal attention and focus on specific needs.
  • AFTERCARE:  Creating systems and structure for sustained relationships with caring adults to help teens successfully re-enter their communities.

Juvenile Justice Ministry Model is one component of our Mission here in Louisville.